By Megan Daley
Updated September 09, 2015 at 08:56 PM EDT

Long before his Oscar-nominated turn as Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave, Chiwetel Ejiofor starred in a low-budget indie that required the actor to go full-method — which led to a really embarrassing moment on-set.

For EW’s Greatest Story Ever Told video series, Ejiofor remembers his first day of shooting when his French director asked the actor to come into the scene angry. Only, he had actually said, “hungry” — which made what happened next a little awkward. For the full narrative, check out the video above.

Ejiofor will be starring alongside Matt Damon, Kate Mara, and Jessica Chastain in the upcoming film The Martian, in theaters Oct 2. His latest film, Z for Zachariah, with Margot Robbie and Chris Pine, is in theaters now.

Chiwetel Ejiofor is in a love triangle with the last woman on Earth in Z for Zachariah

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Chris Pine go hunting in exclusive clip from post-apocalyptic drama Z for Zachariah

Matt Damon gets blown away in first clip for The Martian